Fogarty wires The Mile

Jon Fogarty continued his dominant performance at the Milwaukee Mile this evening, leading every lap from the pole position. Toyota Atlantic Championship rookies Ronnie Bremer and Andrew Ranger were second and third across the line.

Jon Fogarty.
Photo by Earl Ma.
Fogarty was fast all weekend (as was his Pacific Coast Racing teammate, Alex Figge, who had qualified second,) dominating the time sheets each session. He credited the setup for his speed, saying: "Our engineers are clever and smart" and "Kyle Brennan cars have been smoking on the ovals for years."

Fogarty, as expected, took the lead into turn 1 at the green flag. Ryan Dalziel, the Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver who came to Milwaukee with the points lead, got past Figge on the start and Bremer followed him into third place. Ranger also moved up on the first lap, getting ahead of Bryan Sellers and Danica Patrick.

On the third lap, Figge's bad start got even worse as he oversteered into the turn 2 wall. He was okay and the race continued after a short cleanup. He was quite disappointed, having won the previous race in Monterrey, Mexico.

After the restart, Fogarty took off to a lead of more than 2 seconds over Dalziel and was able to stretch it by two-tenths per lap with clear track ahead. Dalziel held a comfortable gap over Bremer, who was closely trailed by Ranger. Patrick and Sellers stayed close to that second-place battle.

The next group, Rocky Moran, Jr., Jonathan Bomarito, Chris Festa, and Alex Garcia, ran in a close pack several more seconds behind Sellers. Josh Hunt couldn't hold pace with that group and he was the first car lapped by Fogarty on lap 34 (of 70.) Fogarty explained the problems that make it so hard for Atlantics to pass here at the Mile. "You have to trim the car out and there is no deceleration except for scrub, so you can't outbrake someone."

Fogarty, with his big lead, was very careful lapping Hunt's slower car, losing half of his (by then) five-plus-seconds advantage over Dalziel. Dalziel, meanwhile, had backed up to join the Brewer/Ranger/Patrick/Sellers pack as Fogarty re-established his lead - out to 7 seconds by lap 45.

On that same lap, Patrick pulled out to attempt the pass she had been threatening to make on Ranger, but he successfully resisted. Ranger described his tactic with a grin: "I had too much push and Danica tried to get inside me. I kept it flat and she couldn't pass me."

Fogarty then caught the Moran/Festa/Bomarito/Garcia pack as they disputed 7th-thru-10th positions and his lead dwindled again. He got around Garcia on lap 50, but needed eight more laps to pass Garcia's Transnet Racing teammate Bomarito.

With five laps remaining, Dalziel and Garcia piled hard into the turn 2 wall as Dalziel tried to lap Garcia. Both drivers climbed out unharmed, but done.

The race finished under the yellow flag due to the lengthy cleanup required for the violent crash. Behind the podium finishers, Patrick finished 4th ahead of Sellers, Moran, and Festa. Bomarito and Hunt finished 8th and 9th, one lap down.

Bremer took the points lead (and the rookie championship lead) by four points over Patrick. Previous points leader Dalziel falls to 4th, behind Moran. Ranger's podium gives him 5th in the current standings.

The Toyota Atlantic Championship races next at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland in two weeks.